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As part of an urgent appeal for more volunteers in the East Sussex area, Chestnut Tree children’s hospice is calling out to people aged 18 – 30 who would like to work closely with young people with life-shortening conditions and their families.
The Buddy Scheme gives each of the young people cared for by the charity an opportunity to get involved with a Buddy. This is a volunteer of around their own age, with whom they can make a connection and enjoy different activities, either within the youth group and community visits, or as part of their activity days which are held during the school holidays.
All Buddies are supported by the hospice’s Buddy Co-ordinator and the overall aim of the scheme is to raise the confidence of the young person cared for by the charity, to help them experience new things and to give them opportunities to meet up with their peers.
Ricky Timms, 30, currently a full time student at university, has been a Buddy volunteer for over a year “I was a bit nervous about becoming a buddy as I was unsure how I would react in what can be an emotionally challenging environment. However, from the very first time I helped out I fell in love with being a buddy, and the relationship I have with the children is something very special to be able to experience. Having seen first-hand the amount of effort parents put in to looking after their children, it means everything that I can give them a break whilst interacting with the children in fun and creative environments, I can’t think of a single thing that can be more fulfilling than that, and it is the best thing I’ve ever done.”
“The thing I enjoy most about volunteering is spending time with the kids; it allows me to be a big kid as well. Whenever I feel worried about my coursework or exams, I think about the children and families cared for by the hospice, and it puts everything into perspective.”
Trisha Cullingford, Fun & Friendship Co-ordinator for Chestnut Tree commented, “I can’t stress enough how much we need people to come forward to volunteer to be a Buddy. It makes such a difference to youngsters here and gives them the chance to enjoy different activities with somebody they can really relate to. We will be holding more youth groups and activities in East Sussex in the coming months so do contact us and find out more about it. And don’t worry, we will provide you with full training, plus you are under no pressure to commit if you give it a go and feel it is not for you.”
To find out more about becoming a Buddy volunteer please call 01323 725095 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information about Chestnut Tree in East Sussex click here and follow @HandsUpToHelp.